While the science shows that older adults have lower vitamin C levels, the exact cause of this unfortunate phenomenon is not completely clear.
One theory is that our need for antioxidant activity increases with age due to higher levels of oxidative stress. Vitamin C is a dynamic and eager scavenger of free radicals that increases antioxidant activity in the body not only by combating reactive oxidative species (ROS) on its own, but by regenerating other antioxidant powerhouses (e.g., glutathione and vitamin E) as well.* Like vitamin C, our body stores of “master antioxidant” glutathione also decrease with age. This decrease in antioxidant activity levels means there’s a greater need for antioxidants to combat ROS.
While it’s important for people of all ages to be cognizant of vitamin C levels, increasing vitamin C intake through diet and quality supplementation can both restore glutathione and maintain healthy overall antioxidant levels, which is especially beneficial for older adults.* And these vitamin C-optimizing practices should ideally be a daily consideration (and endeavor).
Another theory is that vitamin C absorption is less efficient in our later years (although, it’s not always efficient for younger people either). Taking a bioavailable vitamin C supplement known to impact cellular vitamin C actions can ensure you’re both absorbing, retaining, and fully leveraging the essential vitamin so it can support brain and whole-body longevity (among other incredible health benefits).*